This is a big change from what we're used to today. It might take a few years to introduce an update in engine tuning with a conventional vehicle. With the Voltec powertrain that General Motors is planning to launch with the Chevy Volt, computer software will determine things like when the engine will kick on to recharge the batteries or how much regenerative braking the car uses under various circumstances.
When a second-generation of the Volt is finally offered, don't expect GM to focus on extending its electric-only range. Instead, GM hopes to drastically reduce the size and cost of its battery pack, which should have the extremely desirable effect of allowing the vehicle to be profitable.